What did Jesus mean when he said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them”?
“If you are mean to someone, then they will start being mean back to you,” says Blain, 7.
Brooke, 9, looks to agriculture to interpret the golden rule: “If we plant something good, we get something good back. But if you plant something bad, you get something bad back.”
Every farmer knows that even the most fertile farmland will remain barren unless it’s sown with good seed. It’s the same with human relationships. The thing to remember is that not every seed sprouts and produces fruit. You have to keep sowing good seed because you never know which seed will sprout. Not everyone will appreciate your kindness and good deeds.
“If you are nice to another person, then they will probably be nice back to you. And so then you and he will be friends,” says Daniel, 7.
Yes, you might even reap a friend from the golden rule. Maybe that’s why it’s called the golden rule. There are few things in life more valuable than good friends.
“Don’t tease or make fun of somebody if you wouldn’t want them to tease you,” says Marci, 10. “Put yourself in the other person’s shoes before you say or do something mean. Think of the consequences. What goes around comes around.”
What’s going around most of the time is selfishness. If we consistently live and act as though the entire universe revolves around us, we’re going to reap a barren life. We’ll never be able to put ourselves in anyone else’s shoes because we’re so busy tripping over our own selfishness.
For Christopher, 7, the golden rule is practical: “Show respect to other people. Today, I will not fight.”
A minimal starting place for the golden rule would be to stop abusing others. The people on the receiving end of your abuse will be greatly relieved if you stop whatever you’re doing that drives them crazy.
Take a few minutes to put yourself in their place.
“Do what they want you to do, but don’t boss them around,” says Peyton, 12.
Most relationships revolve around a struggle for control. A story on network television about a group of women trying to improve their marriages featured the most controlling woman in the group. She treated her husband as though he were one of her three boys.
As an exercise, the marriage counselor recommended the wives go out to dinner with their husbands and resist all temptation to control. It was difficult, but the controlling wife asked her husband to choose what she should wear, where they should go and so on. At the end of the evening, they were actually holding hands and showing genuine affection.
Obviously, control is not just a problem in marriages. It’s part of the fall. Men and women want to control everything in their lives, including God. One thing is sure: God will never submit to our control.
God is a person with whom you can have a relationship. Like any person, he has feelings. We cause him grief and pain when we ignore him or don’t treat him with the respect and honor he deserves. If you’re a parent or grandparent, what is the one thing you want from your children or grandchildren? Love.
Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Clearly, love is the essence of the golden rule.
Think about this: Go beyond the golden rule. Show more consideration to people than you would want for yourself.
Memorize this truth: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
Ask this question: Can you treat others with more consideration than you would want for yourself?
By Carey Kinsolving